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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Elena Emma Sottilotta

PhD Candidate
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 335 000 (Main Faculty number)

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom




Elena is pursuing a PhD in Italian in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, in co-supervision with the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Department. In 2014, she obtained a Mundus scholarship to attend the Master’s programme Crossways in Cultural Narratives, which involved a mobile study itinerary in three universities: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, University of Sheffield (Home University), Université de Perpignan Via Domitia. Prior to that, she secured a scholarship for a research training in Reception and Translation Studies at the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies ULICES.

Before coming to Cambridge, she was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach Italian language and culture in the United States in 2017-18. As a Fulbright Fellow, she led multiple cultural initiatives and promoted Italian culture in international conferences, film festivals and intercultural events. Her academic background in Italy is in Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. She is currently the recipient of an AHRC scholarship and a Vice-Chancellor’s Award. Her research on nineteenth-century literature, intermedia studies and language teaching methodology has featured in several international peer-reviewed journals.


Teaching interests: 


In parallel with her academic studies, Elena specialised as an English and Italian language teacher, gaining teaching qualifications in both languages. Since 2010, she has taught in Italy, England and the United States to language learners coming from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds, including university students,young learners, immigrants and refugees. She is a certified language examiner and participated in several international conferences on foreign language teaching. Her interests in this field include creative approaches to language learning, creation of authentic didactic materials and implementation of storytelling and creative writing strategies in the FL/L2 classroom.

In 2019, she has been admitted to The Brilliant Club Scholars Programme, an award-winning university access charity that recruits doctoral researchers to share their academic expertise in UK-state schools with pupils from underrepresented backgrounds. In Cambridge, she is working as a supervisor for the courses IT1: Texts and Contexts and IT5: Italian Identities: Place, Language, and Culture.


Research interests: 


Women’s studies; Comparative literature; Folklore and fairy-tale studies; Nineteenth-century studies; Children’s literature; Film and adaptation studies; Second language acquisition; Language teaching methodologies


Recent research projects: 


Elena’s research project aims to explore how the collection of folk and fairy-tale narratives was influenced by nineteenth-century ideologies, cultural identities and linguistic thought by focusing on the works of women writers and folktale collectors who worked in, and were inspired by, insular contexts. As such, her research is tied to socially and culturally relevant dimensions, such as women’s studies, the history of linguistic thought, the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, regional versus national identities, and creative storytelling.


Published works: 


Peer-reviewed journal articles:

Sottilotta, E. E. (first author), Cannamela, D., Double-blind Peer-reviewed Publication (August 2019): E-JournALL: EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages 6.1, pp. 37-55. Title: “Six Memos for Teaching Italian as FL: Creativity, Storytelling and Visual Imagination in the Language Classroom”. ISSN: 2376-905X

Sottilotta, E. E., Double-blind Peer-reviewed Publication (March 2018): Interdisciplinary Journal for the Humanities “estrema” 11, pp. 107-128 (Revista Interdisciplinar de Humanidades, Centro de Estudos Comparatistas, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal). Title: “Maps, Razors, Monocles, Diamonds: Reading H. R. Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines through the lenses of Victorian Material Culture”. ISSN: 2182-8040

Sottilotta, E. E., Double-blind Peer-reviewed Publication (January 2017): Crossways Journal 1.1, pp. 1-31 (University of Guelph, Canada). Title: “Re-imagining the Gothic in Contemporary Serialised Media: An Intertextual and Intermedial Study of Neo-Victorian Monstrous Afterlives”. ISSN: 2560-6425

Sottilotta, E. E., Double-blind Peer-reviewed Publication (September 2015): The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies 14, pp. 81-99 (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland). Title: “Diabolical Crossings: Generic Transitions Between the Gothic and the Sensational in Dacre and Alcott”. ISSN: 2009-0374